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January 6th, 2010

Marvellous Hairy- A Book Review

Marvellous HairyAn embarrassing number of months ago, a writer named Mark A. Rayner, with whom I associate on Twitter, sent me an autographed copy of his novel Marvellous Hairy. I was excited to read it as Mark’s “tweets” are always entertaining. (You can find his website here.) Then, of course, schoolwork started to pile up and I became unable to read a single thing that wasn’t about Modern Human Genetics. So, on my recent trip to Michigan I finally opened ‘er up, not at all knowing what to expect. At that point, all I really knew about it was that it was listed as “Literary Fiction- Fabulist Satire,” divided into five fractals (groups of chapters, I later learned), and that a main character somehow begins to devolve into a monkey (strong selling points, all).

It took under a page for me to realize I had been a fool not to read this sooner. Ghosts, greedy CEOs, drug dealers, wacky novelists, attractive women, lascivious scientists, primates, lizards (apologies if I forgot anybody)- how could I not love this book? The characters alone make this book a worthwhile read. Rayner accomplishes something that not enough writers do: Each character has his or her own distinct voice. Each person in the book could communicate the exact same piece of information, but each would do it with their own personal vocabulary of phrases. I love it. Why every writer doesn’t do this, I will never know. The characters, as a result, are all believable as people.

And Rayner seamlessly intertwines the lives of his very believable characters through the use of his narrator, Rob. Each “fractal,” contains several chapters, which visit different characters as they live out their part of the story. Rob explains all, even though he is only directly involved in parts of the story. His relative omniscience is a result of his being contacted by ghosts, who fill him in on events he isn’t present for- a clever move if you ask me.

There is a lot clever about this book. There is a lot hilarious about this book, too. The opening scene, a chaos-drenched wedding, will slay you. It also provides a stylistic “thesis statement” of sorts. As soon as you read about what Nick and Dr. Tundra do (hint: Monkeys. Lizards.), you completely understand what kind of a book you are getting yourself into.

Look, I could go on and on about all the things I love about this novel, but I’m not going to do that. Instead, I’m just going to post the link to where you can buy the thing.

Marvellous Hairy

Do it. You won’t regret it, I promise.

2 comments to Marvellous Hairy- A Book Review

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